Categories
Christian Living forgiveness

Are You My Daddy?

One of my favorite books as a child was, Are You My Mother?, by P.D. Eastman. In the story, a baby bird hatches while his mother is away from the nest. He falls to the ground and immediately begins to search for her, but doesn’t know what she looks like. The little hatchling meets several animals, and even a few machines, and asks each of them, “Are you my mother?” Finally, the baby bird is returned to the nest–just as his mom arrives with a worm.

The Bible has a version of this story. In the final days of His earthly life, Jesus returns to Jerusalem just before Passover. He’s overcome with emotion when the city comes into view and says this:

O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, you who kill the prophets and stone those sent to you, how often have I longed to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, but you were not willing. Look, your house is left to you desolate.

Matthew 23:37

The Israelites had ‘left the nest’ yet again, and were not seeking to return. Time after time in the Bible we find God’s people asking everything they see, “Are you my daddy?” And, just like the baby bird in the story, they have NO IDEA of their REAL predicament. When Jesus says, “Look, your house is left to you desolate,” He refers to the ultimate destruction of the temple in Jerusalem (in 79 AD) and God’s rejection of His people (Jeremiah 12:7).

Isn’t idolatry (even in ignorance) still a problem today? It’s easy to stray from the nest. And Christians are not immune to the lure of the three S’s: sin, self, and stuff.

A recent devotional in, Our Daily Bread, highlights the tendency to trust in just-in-case idols. The old hymn, Leaning on the Everlasting Arms, becomes Leaning on the Ever-lesser Arms, when we trust in our own intelligence, abilities, or possessions more than God.

Nevertheless, a loving Father awaits the return of all stray hatchlings to the nest.

He will cover you with His feathers, and under His wings you will find refuge.

Psalm 91:4

Who’s Your Daddy?

https://davidsdailydose.org/2020/10/17/whos-your-daddy/

Categories
Christian Blog devotional

God Knows You

Photo by Jon Tyson on Unsplash

“How do you know me?” Nathanael asked. Jesus answered, “I saw you while you were still under the fig tree before Phillip called you.”

John 1:48

I just saw the coolest PBS documentary about Emperor penguins! After marching up to 125 miles across the sea ice, the mother must find her chick among the thousands of others in the colony. That sounds impossible enough, but it gets worse: all the chicks and their dads–who are with them–look EXACTLY alike. To find her husband and their offspring the mother issues a unique call which only her partner can identify.

“When’s mom gonna get here, dad? I’m hungry!”

“My sheep know my voice and they follow me”

John 10:27

Jesus spoke these words in denunciation of a group of Jewish leaders who rejected Him. Basically, He told them, “Guys, the reason you don’t get it is because you don’t got it.”

True believers recognize God’s voice, but can He pick theirs out of a crowd? Of course He can! God is all-knowing and familiar will all of our ways (Psalm 139:3b). He recognizes our needs BEFORE we do, (Matthew 6:8) and knows the secrets of our hearts (Psalm 44:21b).

The concept of being intimately known by our creator is clear. However, what does this look like in real life?

The about-to-be disciple, Nathanael, had never met Jesus. Yet when Christ saw him approaching He said, “Here is a true Israelite, in whom there is nothing false.” — (John 1:47) Jesus saw much more than a guy sitting under a fig tree–before Phillip called him over. Clearly, the Son of God knew the character qualities of an apparent stranger. This surprised Nathanael enough for him to say, “How do you know me?”

God has this same level of intimate knowledge about each one of us.

I love Romans 8:27 and Romans 8:29. They serve like bookends for one of the most quoted comfort scriptures of all time.

(27) And He who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints in accordance with God’s will.

(28) And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love Him, who have been called according to His purpose.

(29) For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the likeness of His Son, that He might be the firstborn among many brothers.

With God we can be ourselves. He knows us anyway!

Categories
Christian Living Trust

Fully Rely on God

My mom was an avid reader of Guideposts, a Christian devotional magazine. In one issue, when she read an article about a man who handed out little rubber frogs with the caption, “F.R.O.G. – Fully Rely on God— she was motivated to get involved.

A quick check at an online retailer found bags of suitable frogs by the 100 count; a pack of lined note cards (to cut into strips) and a ball of red yarn completed the supplies needed to go into the F.R.O.G. business.

Here’s one of my mom’s earliest models. It’s a bit tattered, because he has made the rounds with many in need.

Mom made several dozen and began handing them out to friends and neighbors. She also supplied Nancy and me enough to hand out for our nursery home ministry. Altogether, she made and shared about 200 F.R.O.G.s before she became too sick to continue.

After mom passed away, we decided to hop 🐸 into the F.R.O.G. business ourselves. Ours didn’t have the carefully handcrafted look of mom’s, but they served the same purpose

The residents at the nursing homes and assisted living centers where we sang were thrilled with their little green friends who reminded them to totally trust God. A running joke every month was, “Don’t keep two together, or you’ll soon have more little froggies than you know what to do with!”

At one particular retirement home, the same sweet, smiling resident continued to ask for a frog every time we came. I kept thinking, “Didn’t I give you one last month?!” This went on for awhile—until I heard her whisper to a friend—after taking yet another frog— “I have three more in my room!”


Fully Rely on God, it’s a great idea, but are there practical applications? I think I’ve found a couple. Perhaps you can help me think of more!

My first down-to-earth utilization of F.R.O.G. is the “Phillipians Filter”:

“Finally brothers, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think of such things.” — Philippians 4:8

My apologies for the handmade illustrations. I spent all my money on my catchy domain name.😆

My second illustration of our amphibious acronym is called “Proverbial Math”:

“Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make your paths straight.” — Proverbs 3:5-6

Again, please excuse the homespun illustration. I need a graphic artist!🙄

All things considered, maybe the concept of fully relying on God can’t be reduced to a simple formula. Perhaps that why the Almighty told a guy like Paul, “My grace is sufficient for you, for My power is made perfect in weakness.” — 2 Corinthians 12:9

All the same, as fallible followers of a Holy God, we seek tangible ways to put His promises into practice. Hence, the popularity of F.R.O.G., WWJD and the like.

Today, and every day, may we: turn away from sin, hop to Him, and keep our eyes on the prize like we’re watching flies!

🎶 It’s not easy bein’ green. 🎶
Categories
Christian Living Discipleship

Drawn to the Light

Your Word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path.

Psalm 119:105

One night this summer, I accidentally left the garage door up with the lights turned on. It was three hours later before I discovered my oversight. As I opened the door that leads into the garage from the laundry room, I was greeted with a surreal sight: dozens of moths! They were on the walls, hanging from the ceiling and covering both vehicles like polka dots.

They all looked similar to this one.

I decided the best thing to do was to simply turn off the lights and shut all the doors. The moths will go nowhere in the dark, I thought: “I’ll deal with it in the morning.”

But early the next day when I opened the door, there were just a few little brown insects to be seen. Only when I walked to the other side of the garage did I discover what happened overnight.

Most of the moths had landed on the floor—fanning out from a night light. It was the only source of luminescence in the room, shining only 0.4 watts, yet most of them found their way too it!


This begs the question, just how much of God’s light does a person need?

King David wrote of God’s Word being a lamp for his feet and a light for his path (Psalm 119:105). This doesn’t sound like the airport runway lights I’d prefer, but it must be enough to find The Way, or David wouldn’t have said it.

Jesus Himself spoke about how just a little bit of the right stuff is a big deal in the kingdom of God. Remember the parable He told about having faith like a mustard seed (Mark 4:30)?

As an amatuer bread baker, it still amazes me just how little yeast is needed for a whole batch of dough! “Surely, one packet isn’t enough,” I tell my wife every time. But the balls of dough keep rising until they triple in size! Jesus compared the Kingdom of Heaven to such an experience (Matthew 13:33).

As a child of God, out on life’s ocean, it’s often hard to find my bearings. And when I can’t see but a few feet in front of me, it’s tempting to pray for lighthouses, fog horns and flares–something BIG to show me The Way. However, like He did with Elijah, God often speaks in a gentle whisper (1 Kings 19:11-13).

I suppose the moral of the moths is to tune in to the light of God we have, no matter how small. Flood light faith isn’t always needed.

God’s best to you in your journey.

Categories
Christian Blog devotional

Wet Paint

“27 February – 242/365” by Researching Media is licensed under CC BY-NC-SA 2.0

As a recent project, my wife and I decided to touch up some high traffic areas in our home with fresh paint. Each of us walked around one morning, with brush and paint can in hand, covering over blemishes high and low.

We finished the job as planned and were quite proud of our work. But there was a little problem: we didn’t mark where we painted. It’s hard to tell wet paint from dry of the same color, you know?

Well, I must have brushed against some fresh paint walking into the laundry room, because, next thing I know, my wife tells me I have a racing stripe across my backside! Later, our little terrier comes up to me sporting a white-tipped tail she didn’t have before. It actually looked quite fashionable on her.

I now know why signs that say Wet Paint, Biohazard, and Radioactive were invented.

Hey, someone needs to come up with a type of paint that goes on light pink and slowly turns white as it dries. I would buy some of that.

Anyway, after these two mishaps, we managed to avoid any further contact with wet paint, but the quote lover in me was intrigued. Searching for just the right words to describe our dilemma, I remembered these:

“The best laid plans of mice and men often go awry”

Robert Burns

This actually comes from the poem, To a Mouse. Burns wrote it after plowing up a mouse’s nest in a field in November 1785. The rodent ran away unharmed, but the poet felt bad–knowing he destroyed its home just before the brutal Scottish winter.

But who knows what really happened to our little grey friend after the accident. Maybe it ran straight to Robert Burn’s house and moved in!


Being a child of God doesn’t make one immune to ‘mouse-haps.’ In fact, I’ve survived quite a few. I bet you have also.

Maybe that’s why my wife and I gave the poor mouse in Burn’s poem a happy ending. Like the Psalmist said, “As for me, I will always have hope; I will praise you more and more (Psalm 71:14).

Have you ever experienced a Romans 8:28 situation–something that seemed ALL bad right when it happened, but later turned out for the good?

Maybe our present circumstances are like wet paint–we need to let them dry before we brush up against them. This takes faith in God’s sovereignty, but sure beats getting paint on your backside!

Here are two of my favorite, let-the-paint-dry scriptures. Please share yours in the comments, if you like.

“The Lord will fulfill his purpose for me; your love, O Lord, endures forever–do not abandon the work of your hands. –(Psalm 138:8)

“But I trust in you, Lord; I say, “you are my God.” My times are in Your hands.” — (Psalm 31:14-15a)


God’s Child
Things don’t always turn out the way we think they should.
Sometimes, we look to heaven and say, “God, it’s just no good.”
Until somewhere from the silence…comes a voice of love
Saying, “You’re My child, and that’s enough.”

When you’re God’s child it’s enough.
He is all you need when the going gets tough.
It doesn’t make much difference if the sailing’s smooth or rough.
You’re God’s child, and that’s enough.

“He has made everything beautiful in its time.” — (Ecclesiastes 3:11)

Categories
Christian Blog Comfort Hope

God is God, Wherever You Are

Photo by Farrel Nobel on Unsplash

For many of us, these times we’re living through have brought forceful emotions to the surface. For me, this has been particularly visible through mood swings and dreams.

I’ve always been susceptible to up and down emotions, but COVID 19, and now racial tensions on a national level, have taken things up a notch. The hills, drops, and loops of my life roller coaster are larger and occur more frequently.

Hyper-vigilance is the new norm. An unexpected loud sound–FedEx guy rings the doorbell and the dogs go nuts–sends my adrenaline soaring. A typically low-grade frustration takes me from sea level to death valley in a microsecond. It’s like I’m sailing on an even keel one moment, and slipping on a banana peel the next.

Uncertainty impacts the mind.

My pre-covid emotions were driving a Toyota Prius. Currently, I’m cruising in something more like this:


Dreams: they reveal our subconscious desires, and lately mine have been most enchanting. Two nights in a row, I’ve dreamed of intense platonic interactions with others.

Dream number one involves a heart-to-heart conversation with a former colleague I haven’t seen in years. In the second dream, I’m bear-hugging a childhood friend. I’ve also dreamed I’m at some sort of adult summer camp with a bunch of strangers, hiking through the wilderness and making smores by the fire.

Obviously, I’m craving connection with others.

Isolation impacts the mind.

Uncertainty and isolation pack a one-two punch that can put you on the canvas in a heartbeat.

For me, it’s always comforting to look in the Bible for someone who faced a similar situation. Evidently, the psalmist was going through a bit of a dry spell when he wrote this:

As the deer pants for the streams of water, so my soul pants for you, my God. My soul thirsts for God, for the living God, when can I go and meet with God? (Psalm 42:1-2 NIV)

Clearly, here’s a person craving connection, but with God, not man. Maybe this is the secret.

In another psalm, there’s a different deer:

It is God who arms me with strength and makes my way perfect. He makes my feet like the feet of a deer; He enables me to stand on the heights. (Psalm 18:32-33 NIV)

Thirsty for a drink, or standing on the heights, God is the one who sustains.

I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do everything through Him who gives me strength.

Philippians 4:12-13

God is God, wherever you are.

Follows your heart–no matter how far.

Sees every turn. Knows every scar.

He’s still God–wherever you are.

Categories
Christian Blog courage

Sitting Back on Our ‘Buts’

When the angel of the Lord appeared to Gideon, He said, “the Lord is with you, mighty warrior.” “But sir,” Gideon replied, “if the Lord is with us, why has all this happened to us?” (Judges 6:12-13a NIV)

It was a bad childhood habit of mine–sitting back on my ‘but’ when I didn’t want to do something. The word was one of my favorites, “But mom, I can’t clean my room. I have soccer practice.”

Another young man in the Bible had the same problem. God sent an angel with a message for Gideon, “Go in the strength you have and save Israel out of Midian’s hand. Am I not sending you?” (Judges 6:14)

But Lord…

This makes the second time Gideon sat back on his ‘but” in just three verses of scripture! Thankfully, the extremely patient angel gives it another go: “I will be with you, and you will strike down all the Midianites together.” (Judges 6:16)

Finally, our reluctant hero accepts the mission. Apparently, Gideon doesn’t realize, until after the second but, that God will do the delivering–not him.

If God tells you to do something, don’t sit back on your ‘but.’ Get off you BUTT and do it!

Sacrifice thank offerings to God, fulfill your vows to the Most High, and call upon me in the day of trouble; I will deliver you, and you will honor me. (Psalm 50:14-15 NIV)

We get the deliverance, but God get’s the glory.

So do not throw away your confidence; it will be richly rewarded. You need to persevere so that when you have done the will of God, you will receive what he has promised. (Hebrews 10:35-36 NIV)

https://davidsdailydose.org/2020/06/28/sitting-back-on-our-buts/

Categories
Christian Blog honesty

The Night Watch

I broke the crystal on my Apple Watch the other day. I was super-sweaty after a bike ride and took it off to clean it. Walking into the kitchen, as I reached for a towel, the slippery watch fell out of my hand and onto the tile floor below. Murphy’s law was in full effect, as my go-to gadget landed flat on its face with an audible crunch. Thankfully, the watch still works, but oh what a sad face!

☹️😢😳

When I woke up early the next morning, my broken gadget was sitting on the dresser next to the bed. I picked it up and put it on, but then I noticed something unusual: in the dimness, the face looked pristine–like it had never been broken. However, once I made it into the bathroom and turned on the light, the damage was clearly visible.

Sin is like that. I don’t notice cracks in my relationship with God until His light makes them visible.

This is the verdict: Light has come into the world, but men loved darkness instead of light because their deeds were evil. Everyone who does evil hates the light, and will not come into the light for fear that his deeds will be exposed. But whoever lives by the truth comes into the light, so that it may be seen plainly that what he has done has been done through God.

John 3:19-21

I recently started following a high quality blog by Anna Sofia called Purpose Not Perfection. It was her post, Finding Identity in Jesus Christ, that prompted me to let the light of God shine on my heart’s condition. You can read it here.

These are some of the powerful things she said:

“Our identity cannot be found in ourselves. We cannot rely simply on feelings, because we are sinful. When we become Christians, we no longer search for identity, because Christ defines us. We no longer search, because we have been found.”

Anna Sofia

Thank you, Anna, for reminding me that the only place to find my true identity is in God’s light—Jesus Christ.

Photo by Wallace Chuck on Pexels.com

Examine yourselves to see whether you are in the faith; test yourselves. Do you not realize that Christ Jesus is in you–unless, of course, you fail the test?”

2 Corinthians 13:5
Categories
Christian Blog

The Delightful Danger of Distraction

When I was a boy, I spent two weeks every summer on my grandparents southwest Oklahoma farm. It was 160 acres of cotton fields, mesquite trees and sand. There was also a large garden, a tree house and a coop full of chickens.

A favorite night time activity of my cousins and mine was to collect June bugs to feed those chickens. Here’s how it worked:

  • Turn on the porch light.
  • Wait for the June bugs to get stuck on the window screens.
  • Grab them and put them in a jar until the next morning.

Now, to a chicken, a live June bug is like ice cream on the 4th of July to you and me. My grandmother’s hens were used to eating scraps from the table and scratching at the ground for whatever else. So when we started dropping juicy bugs the GIRLS went WILD–losing their natural wariness.

Cue mischievous little boy.

I enjoyed sneaking up behind a preoccupied hen and giving her the boot. That’s right, I gave the girl a gentle kick with the side of my foot, sending her flapping with a “BA-BAAK!”

Oh what fun!

Until grandmother caught me.


So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?” or “What shall we wear?” For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows you need them. (Matthew 6:31-32 NIV)

Have you ever become preoccupied with the stresses of life and not trusted God like you should? Me too. Sometimes I get distracted by the ‘June bugs’, and don’t see the devil sneaking up from behind.

I realize comparing our unwanted worries to the chickens’ delicious June bugs is a weak analogy. Or is it? Spinning my worry wheels (and getting nowhere) is like eating whipped cream straight out of the can, compared to waiting on God to feed me. But Jesus says go to the Father first.

But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. Matthew 6:33 NIV)

*No live chickens were harmed while writing this post.


https://davidsdailydose.org/2020/06/06/kick-a-chicken-for-the-kingdom-of-god/

Categories
Hope Perspective

The Sky is Probably NOT Falling

“Whoever seeks good finds favor, but evil comes to one who searches for it.”

Proverbs 11:27

In the early 1990’s, social psychologist Roy Baumeister began exploring the negativity bias–the widely accepted belief that bad has a stronger impact on people than good. His team conducted extensive research, hoping to find situations where a single positive circumstance was actually stronger than a negative one.

They couldn’t find any.

In fact, Baumeister and his colleagues discovered that negative life events are typically three to five times stronger than positive ones. In other words, it takes four compliments to make up for one put down.

He lays it all out in his 2019 book, The Power of Bad.

Here’s my favorite take away: our brains are hard-wired to focus on bad, but the rational mind can take this in stride by finding the good.

Baumeister recommends a positivity ratio of 4 to 1 (4 good to 1 bad).

Finding the good isn’t a new idea; it’s as least as old as the 1913 novel, Pollyanna. In the book, a young orphan named Pollyanna uses the “glad game” to cope with the circumstances and sorrows of her life.

Here’s how to play:

Always look for something to be glad about in any situation.

This makes sense. Maybe it’s why gratitude journals are so popular, while keeping an ingratitude journal is a non-starter.

But let’s take it all the way back to the first century. The apostle Paul reminded the Christians in Rome that God uses EVERYTHING for the good of those who love and serve Him (Romans 8:28).

“Child, I got this. It’s ALL good.”

God

Finally, brothers, Whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.

Philippians 4:8

https://davidsdailydose.org/2020/05/23/the-sky-is-probably-not-falling/